Helmut Newton

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Helmut Newton, born Helmut Neustädter (October 31, 1920 - January 23, 2004), was a well-known fashion photographer. He was especially famous for his many nude studies of women.

He was born in Berlin, Germany, the son of a Jewish garment factory owner. His mother was American. He attended the Werner von Trotschke Gymnasium and the American School in Berlin. Interested in photography from a young age, he worked for the German photographer Else Simon, known as Yva. Following kristallnacht in 1938, he fled from Germany and worked briefly in Singapore as a photographer for the Straits Times. He served with the Australian Army during World War II, from 1940 to 1945, working in logistics.

In 1948 he married the Australian actress June Brunell. Postwar he worked as a freelance photographer, producing fashion shoots and work for magazines such as Playboy. From the late 1950s he concentrated on fashion photography.

He settled in Paris in 1961 and began extensive work as a fashion photographer. His works appeared in magazines including, most significantly, French Vogue. He established a particular style marked by erotic, stylised scenes, often with sado-masochistic and fetishistic subtexts. A heart attack in 1970 slowed his output somewhat but he extended his work and his notoriety/fame greatly increased, notably with his 1980 "Big Nudes" series which marked the pinnacle of his erotic-urban style, underpinned with excellent technical skills. He also worked in portraiture and more fantastical studies.

In October 2003 he donated an extensive photo collection to the Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz (Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation) in Berlin. It is exhibited in the former art library near Berlin-Zoo station. Newton loved his hometown Berlin.

In later life, he lived in Monte Carlo and Los Angeles. He died in a car crash in Hollywood, California when his car hit a wall in the driveway of the famous Chateau Marmont, the hotel on Sunset Boulevard which had for several years served as his residence whenever he was in southern California. His ashes are buried in the Städtischen Friedhof III, in Friedenau, Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Berlin, Germany.

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